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Afghan Taliban-US concluded round of talks in Qatar

07 August, 2019

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The Afghan Taliban and the United States have concluded another round of talks in Qatar with claims by both sides of progress; however, they could not announce a deal, which was expected earlier.

Taliban sources said they have resolved differences with the US over a time-frame for the withdrawal of foreign forces and Taliban assurances to prevent Afghan soil from terrorism.

Technical committees from both sides met on Tuesday again to hold further consultations on a mechanism for the implementation of the decisions taken so far.

The intra-Afghan dialogue, which was reportedly planned in Norway this month, could be further delayed as the Taliban and the US have not made any announcement about the finalization of peace agreement.

Taliban sources speaking to Daily Times from Qatar confirmed on Tuesday reports that they have reached an agreement with the US to break contacts with international armed groups that pose threats to the US and its allies.

Earlier a Taliban official had stated that Taliban refused to publicly condemn al-Qaeda in any document/draft but they would condemn terrorism without mentioning any group.

The US had been urging the Taliban to condemn al-Qaeda and several other groups but the Taliban negotiators had refused.

Sources privy to the negotiations in Qatar say the next round of talks could be held soon after Eidul Azha.

As part of their interaction with key stakeholders, Taliban political envoys are scheduled to visit Uzbekistan today (Wednesday), Taliban sources in Qatar said.

Head of the political office Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar would lead a 12-member delegation, a Taliban official told Daily Times.

The Taliban’s talks with officials in Uzbekistan would be mainly focus on offer by the Central Asian country to host intra-Afghan dialogue.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev had offered to host talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in March 2018.

Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdul Aziz Kamolov and special envoy Ismatullah reiterated the offer when they met Taliban chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Qatar in March this year.

Taliban political representatives, who had earlier visited Tashkent in August last year, had welcomed the interest of the Central Asian country in the peace process and economic development. Uzbekistan is seen as a possible peace broker as it enjoys good relations with Afghanistan and contacts with the Taliban political office.

The Central Asian country had previously been involved in peace talks between the Taliban and its rival northern alliance.

In 1999, a meeting of the Group “6+2” was held in Tashkent where representatives of the Northern Alliance and Taliban also participated.

The Taliban on Tuesday said they would exert utmost efforts in prevention of the upcoming presidential elections, which they called a “misleading and deceiving process”.

“We call on all our fellow countrymen to boycott this process and not partake in any campaign rallies because your participation will only be used as a ruse by the invaders and their hirelings to gain validity,” a Taliban statement said.

Taliban also urged the people to “stay away from gatherings and rallies that could become potential targets.”

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